TX: City of Odessa fighting release of payout in city attorney case

The City of Odessa disclosed paying $23,300 to an outside law firm for work on the sexual harassment complaint involving City Attorney Larry Long, whose resignation is due to take effect at the end of next month.

But the city is still fighting to withhold records showing whether the legal assistant who filed a federal sexual harassment complaint against the city attorney received taxpayer money as part of a settlement.

The total costs of the sexual harassment case remain unclear. The legal assistant had filed a complaint this summer accusing Long of harassing her in ways such as touching her hair against her will and staring at her, an account that was corroborated by a human resources report.

The city’s outside counsel, Shafer, Davis, O’Leary & Stoker attorney Cal Hendrick, appealed an open records request about the settlement to the state Attorney General’s office. Hendrick argued that releasing the records “would be a violation of federal law” because of a confidentiality agreement between the city and the legal assistant as part of the resolution to the complaint she filed with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Read more…